Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

I Am Officially Appalled

Posted by MEC on September 5, 2008

I have never watched a video of the attack on the World Trade Center. I avert my eyes from photographs, too.

I have two reasons for avoiding those images. One, I know that experiencing merely the images of horrific events can be traumatizing, and I don’t believe that traumatizing myself will give me any better appreciation of the events or greater sympathy for the victims. Two, I have too much respect for the people who really did experience the attack to pretend that watching a recording means I am sharing their experience and understand what it did to them.

No, wait. I have three reasons. The third is that I know there are people out there for whom replaying the attack isn’t a way to learn more about it and try to understand what happened, or a way to empathize with the victims. For those people it’s tragedy porn, and the way they get excited about the ghastly details is really, really creepy.

So you can probably guess my reaction when I learned that last night’s festivities at the Republican National Convention included slow-motion videos of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not just videos, but slow-motion videos, the better to burn the horror into the viewers’ brains, or maybe to savor the thrilll of seeing violent death, or maybe to stir up mass rage in order to direct it at more accessible targets than the people who planned and carried out the attacks. If there’s a good reason for showing that video to the delegates and to the TV audience, I for damn sure don’t know what it is.

Those people have no concept of decency.

3 Responses to “I Am Officially Appalled”

  1. Exactly, MEC.

  2. shrimplate said

    In her book Pornography and Silence Susan Griffin explores the idea that pornography objectifies women, making them “silent.”

    She also notes that this goes not just for women, but just about anything can be pornographied by squelching the humanity out of whatever it is.

    She contrasts this with the erotic, which celebrates rather than denigrates sexuality particularly, and humanity in general.

    I think you’re really on to something about the latent psychological warfare employed by the Republican shock-troopers who manipulate people, money, and votes in this manner. I absolutely agree that it is pornography in the truest and deepest sense of the word.

    Thank you, mec.

    People are not objects to be used as means to a political or any other end. Neither are the tragic events of 9/11. To do that was just plain wrong. Yet they use it over and over again.

  3. MEC said

    Shrimplate, I’m not just concerned about the way the Thugs use “9/11” as propaganda. I’m concerned about the psychological effect of the images.

    I know people who had nightmares featuring those images, even though they were hundreds of miles away from the event.

    On the other hand, I know people in New York who had complete strangers ask them whether they saw the attack, and those strangers actually displayed envy when told they had. That’s what first got me thinking about “tragedy porn”.

    Whether the reaction is horror or arousal, the effect is not healthy.

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